) -- Continuing a trend following yesterday's cautiously positive Federal Reserve announcement, the dollar continued tracking down today. Meanwhile, the stock markets made careful moves after less-than-heartening retail and jobs data.

In the afternoon, the dollar was losing ground at 1.0881 Canadian dollars and 1.0702 Swiss francs. The dollar was also tracking back at 95.1550 Japanese yen.

Much of the economic news today has been dominated by two dour reports. One out of the Labor Department said the number of

new applicants for unemployment benefits jumped by 4,000 to 558,000 last week. Surprised observers expected new claims to drop to 545,000.


Commerce Department piled on in reporting that retail sales fell off by 0.1% in July. Most expected sales figures to grow during the month.

Stocks were still trying to find their way in the afternoon, though upward moves were found in

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report



(WMT) - Get Report


CIT Group

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, and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report


Overseas, the euro was gaining at $1.4281, while the British pound was up at $1.6574. Earlier in the day, many were stunned after both Germany and France each reported GDP growth of 0.3%. Economists predicted GDP contractions in each country. Another report also showed that the euro zone's GDP contracted by a slim 0.1%, well narrower than the 0.5% estimate.

-- Reported by Sung Moss in New York

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